The Rutgers Suicide & Online Privacy

The suicide of a Rutgers freshman is raising new questions about privacy, hate crimes, and the Web.

A candlelight vigil for Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi at the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick, N.J., Oct. 3, 2010. (AP)

Tyler Clementi was eighteen years old. He closed the door to his college dorm room and had an intimate encounter. As it happens, it was with another man — and, unknown to Clementi, it was streamed over the Web by his roommate, from down the hall.

Tyler Clementi then killed himself. He jumped off one of the biggest bridges in the country.

Now, his roommate, Rutgers freshmen Dharun Ravi, and Molly Wei, Ravi’s friend, are facing invasion of privacy charges, which could result in up to five years in jail. Should they be charged with a hate crime?

-Tom Ashbrook


Amy Nutt, reporter for the Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J.

Emily Bazelon, legal writer and senior editor at and a senior research scholar at Yale Law School. Read her Slate series: “Bull-E 2010: The new world of online cruelty.”

Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, an organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students. 

Orin Kerr, law professor at George Washington University who specializes in computer crime law and criminal law.

See Dan Savage’s “It Gets Bettter” Project:

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Oct 13, 2015
In this photo taken on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, Syrian armored vehicles get ready to move near the village of Morek in Syria. The Syrian army has launched an offensive this week in central and northwestern Syria aided by Russian airstrikes. (AP)

Russia’s big power play in Syria, the US response, and where this could go.

Oct 13, 2015
The bare landscape of Crimea, Ukraine, offers little protection in warfare, and German infantrymen hug the ground to escape enemy fire, Jan. 7, 1942.  (AP)

We’ll talk with historian Tim Snyder, who sees resource wars behind past genocides and says climate change now raises the danger again.

Oct 12, 2015
A portion of the cover of Larissa MacFarquhar's new book, "Strangers Drowning." (Penguin Press / Courtesy The Publishers)

An extreme commitment to others. Larissa MacFarquhar joins us with stories of those who sacrifice almost everything to do good.

Oct 12, 2015
Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman talks on his phone outside the newly constructed jail as prisoners are transferred into the facility in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP)

Step one in sentencing reform: 6,000 federal prisoners will go free at the end of this month. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Meet The Interns, Fall 2015
Friday, Oct 9, 2015

Meet our Fall 2015 interns! (Better late than never, right?)

More »
Our Week In The Web: October 9, 2015
Friday, Oct 9, 2015


More »
Rep. Daniel Webster: ‘I’m Gonna Sell This Message’
Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015

When House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his retirement and resignation from his position last month, it surprised both his Party and the Washington political establishment.

More »